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‘Kings of comebacks’ – Five instances when Team India roared back after being down and out

By Alan

January 11, 2022

India is currently the number one team in the Test Rankings with 124 rating points. In the last one year, India breached forts of Australia, England, and South Africa. It all started with India defeating Australia in Australia, followed by twin wins in England and ending the year 2021 by defeating South Africa in Centurion.

The Indian team has shown in the past few years that they are the kings of a comeback. Their never die attitude has seen them snatch wins from the jaws of defeats on many occasions. Here are the five instances when India showed how to come out as a strong unit when the chips are down.

India vs England – Oval (2021)

In June last year, India landed in England to play a five-match series. The first Test in Nottingham ended in a draw. India won the second Test at Lord’s by 151 runs.

England humiliated the Indian team in the third Test after winning by an innings and 76 runs. India faced off England in Oval where the team had never won a match. Batting first, England posted a decent 290 in their first inning. In reply, India were bowled out for a mere 191, conceding a lead of 99 runs. The game looked done and dusted for the visitors before the Indian batters rose to the occasion as India posted 466 in their second inning before bowling out England for 210, winning the game by 157 runs.

India vs South Africa – Durban (2010)

India travelled to South Africa in 2010 as the number one Test team. But, during the first Test of the series, the Proteas showed why it was impossible to beat them in home conditions. India lost the first match by an innings and 25 runs.

The boxing day Test match was played in Durban where India made a perfect comeback. India made 205 runs while batting first as no Indian batter could make over 40 runs. In the first innings, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh picked three and four wickets respectively to script a comeback for India as South Africa was dismissed for 131 runs. 

In the second innings, VVS Laxman made 96 runs off 171 balls which allowed the Indian team to post a target of 302 runs. South Africa failed to chase down this total and lost the match by 87 runs.

India vs Australia – Perth (2008)

The India tour of Australia in 2008 is famous for all the wrong reasons. India lost the first Test match in Melbourne by a huge margin of 337 runs. The bruised and battered Indian team arrived in Sydney only to lose for the second time not due to the quality of the game, but due to several other factors including umpiring mistakes and fake controversies. India lost the match in Sydney by 122 runs.

The third Test match was played in Perth where India made 330 runs in the first innings. RP Singh led the Indian bowling attack in the second innings, taking four wickets which helped India bundle out the Australian batting unit for just 212 runs. Australia was asked to chase a target of 412 runs which they failed and lost the match by a huge margin of 72 runs.

India vs Australia – Melbourne (2020-21)

India lost the first Test in Adelaide by a humiliating margin of eight wickets. The team was dismissed for 36 runs in the second innings, which was the lowest ever Test score for the team.

India played the second Test in Melbourne on Boxing Day under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane after Virat Kohli left to be with his wife during the birth of their first child. Several other key players were also not part of the team owing to injuries. Indian bowlers dismissed the Australian batters for 195 and 200 runs in the first and the second innings. A first inning score of 300 meant that India had to chase a total of 70 runs in the second innings, which it did with eight wickets to spare.

India vs Australia – Kolkata (2001)

In March 2021, India scripted one of the best comebacks that we have seen on a cricket field. Australia won the first Test by ten wickets and the teams travelled to Kolkata to play the second Test. Australia made 445 runs while batting first and India could make only 171 runs before Australia enforced a follow-on.

VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid stitched a partnership of 376 runs for the fifth wicket as India declared on 657 runs for the loss of seven wickets, setting a mammoth target of 383. Harbhajan Singh picked a six-wicket haul in the second innings as India defeated Australia by 171 runs.